Saturday, November 8, 2008

Shelter dogs are mutts like Obama and me and you

Barack Obama made my day with that throwaway line about his being a mutt. Actually, what he said (in his first press conference as president elect) was, "A lot of shelter dogs are mutts, like me."

He pointed this out to explain why the Obama family is having a difficult time settling on which puppy is going to The White House with them. They want to resuce a shelter puppy, but Malia is allergic, so they need to find a purebreed hypoallergenic dog.

Hard to find one of those in a shelter, since shelter dogs tend to be mutts (like Obama and most of the rest of us) - though a good start would be to announce that you are looking for one at an international media event of high importance!

Why did this little bit make my day? Well, I'm a mutt, too - French, Irish, German, Cherokee and Kaskaskia. My wife is a mutt of African tribes and Portuguese. Our daughter is all of that and then some.

A mutt is a confluence. I'm all about confluences.

And, hey! I made exactly the same point in a song I wrote and recorded with the band Eleanor Roosevelt and released on the record Crumbling in the Rain. It goes something like this:


Hand me down
By Chris King

Met her at the city pound
Just a little luckless hound
I could tell she had been kicked around
Little doggy hand me down

But I could tell she liked me
Right away

I have been lost and found
I’ve been kicked while I was down
I have been sold by the pound
Sometimes I feel like a hand me down

But I can tell she likes me

Have you ever been to the city pound?
Ever let the dogs there stare you down?
Tell me, have you ever heard the sound?
When all those cages rattle around?

I can tell she likes me
I can tell you why she likes me
We’re both strays


You can hear this song and the rest of Crumbling in the Rain in snippet form (or buy it for 99 cents a song) at Audio Lunchbox and most other major download joints.

It's funny, but I have been having an Obama jones. As the editor of an important African American-focussed newspaper in a battleground state (The St. Louis American), I got a lot of attention from the Obama campaign and had the privilege of meeting this great man twice in small settings and interviewing him twice, one-on-one, over the phone.

I know those days are over. Now he has to run the country, or get ready to run it, and a minority weekly in the Midwest will be gettings its news from pool reporters, like everybody else. But this mutt thing makes me feel like we are still right there with the thoughts, Obama and me. Of course, many millions of us feel the same way about this guy, which is why it is suddenly so damn much fun to be an American again.


Photo from a blog from someplace called Inuvik that has great photos of the Northwestern Territories.

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